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Virginia officials have agreed to assume greater control of passenger-rail service in the state under a new agreement with Amtrak, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced on Tuesday.Under the agreement, Virginia will take on more of the cost for the intercity passenger-rail service to cities between Washington, D.C., and Lynchburg, Newport News and Norfolk, including Richmond.The new operating and capital cost-sharing agreement with Amtrak, as required under federal law, had to be in place no later than Oct. 1 or Virginia regional rail service would have ended, McDonnell and Amtrak officials said in a press release."Stopping regional Amtrak service in the commonwealth was not an option. With this agreement between Virginia and Amtrak, we can continue to provide for existing regional intercity passenger-rail service and work toward extending new service from Lynchburg into Roanoke and extend more service to Norfolk," said McDonnell.The agreement between Virginia and Amtrak is part of Section 209 of the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which requires Amtrak to work with the 19 affected states to establish a cost-sharing methodology for the 28 corridor routes of less than 750 miles to ensure equitable treatment of all states.Meanwhile, Amtrak announced it appointed Armando Silva chief of operations research and planning. He will report to Vice President of Operations D.J. Stadtler.Silva will lead a team responsible for developing Amtrak schedules, fleet plans, terminal operating plans and operations processes. He also will collaborate with operations managers to analyze problems and track performance, and develop and implement solutions, Amtrak officials said in a press release.
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